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Tuesday, 26 July
Putting The Fun In Funeral Homes

On Sunday, the wife and I had a little birthday gathering to attend--summers are always of course lousy with damn birthdays; presumably because of the joyless weather in winter leading to the old, "Hmm . . . might as well fuck, I guess" syndrome--at around 8:00.

My tendons moaned at this idea. 8:00! Sunday! What do I look like, Disco Stu? Good God, people, that's prime prune-sucking time for people like me! Also, I knew that none of our friends would take that time seriously. Theater peoples' time-sense features a mindbending sort of elasticity. (I once had a friend who was taking me to the airport make a side trip along the way to drive me to a bloody fucking audition for a part that he thought I was a good fit for. "The director says he can give you ten minutes right now!" he exclaimed. "We have plenty of time." He then drove me to a bar, where the director was sitting with a beer, and soon I was drinking one too, gulping it down while looking worriedly at my watch. After the beers, we went to the nearby theater, where I auditioned--as promised--very quickly, and found myself in a scene featuring me riding a prostitute like a horse. Only then did we finally dash off to the airport, where I barely caught my plane. Later I found out that I had also gotten the part. So I couldn't even be that outraged about it. Also, later, my friend who waylaid me told me what sold the director on me for the part. Director's quote: "Can you believe it? He was the only damn guy who rode the fucking whore.")

Anyway. We knew showing up at eight would be stupid, so we timed it to get there around 8:20. We met the birthday girl H. and her boyfriend T. right on the street corner. They had just shown up, of course. We walked into the bar. I noticed that we were still the first ones there. Naturally.

The bar we went to is called The Chapel, so named because it is a reconverted funeral home. Like, old school--dark wood everywhere, twenty-foot-high vaulted ceilings, and a hilarious Brobdingnagian bar crafted out of repurposed slabs of marble, hopefully not robbed from the dead--the bar top came up to my nipples, and its semicircle is dotted with absurdly high chairs on which to uncertainly teeter while staring down at the hoi polloi at the regular tables. Top o' the Underworld, Ma!

The place is amusing in a kind of sinister, Teutonic way, and the improbable, faceless dance music being pumped out by some DJ locked in a coffin upstairs somewhere only made it weirder. NNDT!--ss!--NNDT!--ss!--NNDT!--ss! came the bad music, and I kept waiting for Charon the Groovy Boatman to boogie up to me and pry my jaws open in search of a penny before shoving me into a battered flat-bottomed boat for my final ride into Tartarus over the River Styx. I imagined his Death Boat radio would also, of course, play Styx.

Also sinister was the drink menu. Drink menus are really never anything but useless except for listing, say, daily drink specials. This one was no different. Page one listed a numbing litany of horrible martini crimes, like Cucumber martinis and Combed Ass martinis and the like. I rid myself of the awful menu as quickly as possible and asked for a regular old fucking Sapphire martini. It was eight dollars, and I heard my shuddering, 36-year-old heart wheeze as it unhappily pumped a few more pints of grey blood out into my unsturdy arteries. Eight dollars. This fucking town. My nerveless hands reached for my wallet and I whitely opened a tab.

Back at the table, the rest of the group had enthusiastically embraced the dreaded drink menu, and were consuming things like Appletinis, which always sounds to me like the circus acrobat group that probably died the week before Dick Grayson's parents bought it (CIRCUS FREAKS MOURN LOSS OF OWN; APPLETINIS FINIS). One fellow was drinking a concoction called the "Redrum;" I didn't have the heart to ask what was in it. He called it a "Murder."

"I'm drinking MURDER!" he pronounced, in Vincent Pricean tones.

"What does murder taste like?" someone said.

"It tastes like coconut!" exclaimed his girlfriend, after a sip. In my mind, I imagined Lenny Briscoe squealing on some lost episode of "Law & Order" that murder "tastes like coconut," but remained silent, because I'd like to keep my friends.

We didn't stay long. It was, after all, becoming perilously close to 10:00 (on a Sunday!), and we really needed to get home before the light failed totally and our atrophied, late-30s rods and cones left us hopelessly night-blind and lost. I could just see us on the roadside, gaping like zombies, and begging for cold oatmeal from passersby.

Before we left, I did remember to ask about H.'s birthday. She reported that it went well, and was relaxing. T. had gotten her some lovely gifts. T. murmured to me that I should ask her what exactly she had wanted (and received.) Okay.

"What did you get?" I asked H.

"Tires," she replied. I stared for a moment.

"Like car tires?" I asked.

"Black gold!" she crowed. (Really.) I didn't know what to say.

"I really needed tires," she explained.

Ah.

I decided that I'd better have one more drink before we left.


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Comments

I must celebrate your creation of the Combed Ass martini. Huzzah, says I.

Comment number: 005460   Posted by: Joe on July 26, 2005 08:09 AM from IP: 68.164.202.212

Bits I really liked:
"late 30's rods and cones"
"Lenny Briscoe Squealing"
"combed ass martinis"
Dunno why really, I just do

Comment number: 005461   Posted by: Lala on July 26, 2005 08:48 AM from IP: 198.103.172.9

TIRES? I would've needed some more (cucumber-free) gin at that point, too.

While my wife was pregnant last winter she BEGGED me to buy her an enema bag. This presented certain linguistic challenges, but I came home with a nice boxed home enema kit. She said it was the nicest thing I'd ever brought her.

So I saved the box to use for this year's Christmas wrapping. Also the box that the Harpic Ready [toilet] brush came in. Just in case she thinks she's not getting any cool presents.

Comment number: 005464   Posted by: sgazzetti on July 27, 2005 05:27 AM from IP: 195.210.245.181

"combed ass" oh shit that is hilarious!

Comment number: 005465   Posted by: teena405 on July 27, 2005 10:19 AM from IP: 4.22.149.161

i'm so glad i joined your tens of readers awhile back. truly amusing.

Comment number: 005466   Posted by: penelope on July 27, 2005 04:43 PM from IP: 208.190.152.67

Best audition story ever.

sgazzetti, you are a damn fine husband.

Comment number: 005470   Posted by: CG on July 29, 2005 05:19 AM from IP: 70.19.62.190

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